The audiobook market is booming, dispite some challenges, according to panelists who participated March 14 in a London Book Fair panel about “The Future of Audio in Publishing: Global Trends and the Impact of AI.” The panel was moderated by Videl Bar-Kar, cice president of audio at Bookwire.

The London Book Fair, one of the largest international publishing events, this year (2024) had more than 1,000 exhibitors and approximately 30,000 visitors. 

Here are some key takeaways from the audio panel:

    • The audio market is big and keeps growing: The US market, the world’s biggest, has seen double-digit growth for 11 years straight, with over half of US adults having listened to an audiobook.
    • Young listeners on the rise: The average audiobook listener is getting younger, with children’s audiobooks being a major growth area.
    • Spanish language is hot: There’s huge potential for audiobooks in Spanish, with only a fraction of the potential market currently served.
    • More ways to listen: Companies like Spotify are entering the market, offering audiobooks alongside music and podcasts.
    • AI narration with caution: While AI narration is being explored, panelists agreed it shouldn’t replace the quality of human narration.
    • Discovery is key: Making it easier for people to find audiobooks they’ll love is a major focus for the industry.